Banks to help customers prevent problematic debts
Banks in the Netherlands have joined the fight against problematic debts. From now on banks will refer customers who are regularly in the red to website Geldfit, where they can get help with managing their money problems. The same applies to customers who use up their savings quickly or miss payments on a bank loan, NOS reports.
In the Netherlands around 2.3 million households have structural payment arrears that can develop into problematic debt. On the Geldfit site, you can talk to someone about your money problems via chat, email or phone call. The site also has a test where you can see how much trouble you're in by filling in the bills you can't pay.
Depending on how big your problems are, you are referred to one of three aid options - an online volunteer from the organization fiKks, a local volunteer from Humanitas or SchuldHulpMaatje for example, or professional debt assistance or counseling through your municipality.
So far the municipalities of The Hague, Deventer, Zwolle, Zoetermeer, Delft, Hoogeveen, Soest, Wijk bij Duurstede, and Den Bosch are participating in this initiative. The intention is that many more municipalities will sign up in the short term. The banks participating so far are ABN Amro, Rabobank, ING and Volksbank.
"In this way, financial problems can be tackled when they are still small and we can reach many more people early to prevent debts", Chris Buijink, chairman of the Dutch Banking Association, said to NOS.